I wanted to start off my review with a line from this movie, because it was the one that resonated the most with me and I think it fits beautifully with the journey Daniel Craig’s James Bond has been through these past 5 movies. M tells Bond, “If you have nothing left to give, you are irrelevant.” Of course, up until this point, we know James Bond has given his everything to protect as many people as he possibly could. He is a broken man, dutifully putting his body through pain, torture, and agony. He looks for his happiness, but struggles to trust anyone. Can a man that has been through so much ever find the peace he so desperately seeks? No Time To Die answers our question while giving us a satisfying conclusion to Daniel Craig’s Bond. Spoilers from here on out.
Right out the gate, I want to tell you that I really really enjoyed this movie and I thought the ending was very fitting for Daniel Craig’s Bond. It respects his legacy, and I’m positive this era will rank amongst the best of the Bond’s. For the first time, we had an overlaying storyline throughout these 5 films. They are all connected, and they all tell the story of this James Bond. Before, we were used to getting 1 story films that weren’t necessarily connected, but they did have callbacks from previous films. I think this change was a breath of fresh air and it’s dark nature is what really made it stand out from the rest. We get a dark, and gritty Bond. A suave killer, just as described in Ian Flemings famous novels. The film itself however, while not perfect, is a great effort to end an era.
Daniel Craig does a great job as always playing this broken Bond. We follow him and Madelaine played by Lea Seydoux as they travel around Italy, and looking forward to their future together. Madelaine urges that Bond visit the grave of Vesper Lynd(Bond’s first love from Casino Royale) so that he can make peace with her death and betrayal. In order for him and Madelaine to have a future together, he must let go of his anger. In true Bond fashion, he is ambushed by thugs looking to kill him. These thugs presumably sent by the leftovers of the Spectre organization from the previous film are out to kill them both. Bond escapes and separates from Madelaine on a sour note because he thinks she set him up. How else did they find them both? The film skips 5 years ahead of time to Bond laying low somewhere in Jamaica. He’s resting, while MI6 is dealing with a huge global threat. A weapon that targets specific people by their DNA has been stolen, and must be retrieved, for if it lands in the wrongs hands, millions of lives could be at stake. You know, the usual end of the world stuff.
One of my favorite bits of the entire film was the the whole mission of retrieving a “package” from Cuba. Ana de Armas is criminally underused in this but has so much on screen chemistry with Daniel it’s fantastic! Her character Paloma left me wanting more of her character. She left such an impact for her 5 minutes of screen time. Her character was so much fun, and lethal at the same time. The entire sequence itself, while being my favorite action set piece in the whole movie, was actually a bit of filler, which actually leads into one of my biggest complaints about the movie.
The runtime for this film is bloated to 2 hours and 43 minutes. I think that more should’ve been trimmed in order to have a better flowing story. The time really did feel long when watching this which isn’t a good sign. I appreciate them not wanting to rush the story, but there are multiple scenes and sections of this film that could’ve easily been cut out completely without effecting the main story. Another thing, I believe that Rami Malek is completely wasted. There is barely anything for him to work with here which is a shame because he is a really talented actor that was unfortunately reduced to a one noted villain with confusing and uninteresting motives. I feel like his character Safin didn’t really need to be in this movie at all since Christoph Waltz actually had more to play with with his character Blofeld which also carried over from Spectre. Also, I still feel like Daniel and Lea have no chemistry, and was hoping they’d both be better in this movie than in Spectre(they also had no chemistry there either) but it was more or less the same. The story and emotional beats are there, but the lack of chemistry doesn’t make the relationship believable and it takes away a lot of the impact of the story for me since it’s revealed that James and Lea actually have a daughter together and that they have this sort of lost love and time story.
So besides those being the weak points, I’ll talk about the things I believe they nailed here. I loved the sense of family Bond was given here with Q and Moneypenny. They’ve been including them frequently throughout the films, and I love that they aren’t reduced to pointless background characters only used for laughs. There is a real sense of love, respect and warmth here that I think a character like Bond needs. They always have his back and I love seeing that. Speaking of characters, we have another addition with Lashana Lynch playing Nomi, MI6’s newly appointed 007. What a wonderful character. I think she and Daniel played off each other so well. Both are arrogant, but one has earned his stripes, while the other tries one upping him any which way she can. I think it’s a cool dynamic and I think it works well into the theme of Bond being “too old” and having nothing more to give. Youth vs Experience. I think the biggest takeaway here is to show how replaceable agents are in MI6. They just recycled the codename 007 with someone younger and with no other care. It’s even pointed out in the movie that they don’t retire codenames which shows how changing agents is a revolving door. Nomi isn’t here to take anything away from James’ legacy, and there is a touching moment near the end where Nomi requests that James be given his original code, showing much honor and respect.
So now, about that ending. This is going to be the most polarizing thing by far. I have to say, I think the decision to have Bond killed off makes perfect sense for Craig’s Bond. There was no other way this character would ever find the peace he truly deserved. It’s sad but I think it was brave the way he went out and fitting that he we would sacrifice himself to save millions. Coming back to that quote, “If you have nothing left to give, then you are irrelevant.” James Bond gave himself up, his future, his happiness, but in all that, he finds peace, which his character deserves after everything he’s been through. I think the journey leading up to this makes this ending well earned. Daniel Craig has solidified himself in movie history coming out with one of the best on screen portrayals of James Bond I’ve ever seen, and honestly, my favorite. No Time To Die is an excellent entry in the James Bond franchise, and a great send off to boot. Until next time, James Bond will return.
No Time To Die is now playing in theaters.